Doctors often prescribe Gabapentin as a treatment for the symptoms of epilepsy and seizure. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved it for other illnesses such as restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain. However, many still ask whether or not they can use Gabapentin for anxiety.
Some patients have reported that the drug has also benefitted them by reducing other types of pain. Others even claim that it can lessen the intensity and frequency of anxiety attacks. Regardless, researchers need to conduct more studies that can verify these claims.
Common Uses Of Gabapentin
A group of Japanese researchers, whose original aim was to find a new muscle relaxant, accidentally created gabapentin. Since then, its fame and uses have broadened faster than a lot of drugs in the market. Below are some illnesses that Gabapentin can treat:
- Diabetic Neuropathy: according to a guideline from the European Federation of Neurological Societies, gabapentin is an effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Studies have shown that the drug can reduce the pain felt by diabetic patients by as much as 38%. (1)
- Postherpetic Neuralgia: individuals who have contracted the varicella-zoster virus, a kind of herpesvirus, are the ones who experience this type of pain. Studies on gabapentin showed a significant reduction of postherpetic neuralgia for those that use it. (2)
- Central Neuropathic Pain: injuries to the somatosensory system or the nerves for our sense of touch may result in central neuropathic pain. A 2010 research showed that the drug is very effective for neuropathic pain caused by cancer. (3)
Studies on gabapentin have shown that the drug could improve the effectiveness other opioid pain relievers such as morphine and oxycodone. However, due to a significant danger of overdose, extreme caution is needed when taking opioids together.
There have been claims that Gabapentin can reduce migraine pain among adults. However, a 2013 Cochrane review concluded that there is no sufficient evidence to say that the drug can cure headaches. The American Head Society also issued a guideline supporting the Cochrane review’s findings.
Using drugs such as gabapentin for purposes not proven by science is extremely dangerous. If misused the patient may experience various side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue, peripheral edema (swelling of extremities), ataxia, and tremors. Make sure to consult a physician before taking gabapentin.
Can Gabapentin Treat Anxiety?
Some patients and doctors have claimed that gabapentin may have the potential to treat anxiety disorders such as bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, almost no study has proven this claim. Those who did were later disproven by subsequent studies or were found to have used faulty variables.
In fact, misuse of the drug may cause anxiety-like symptoms. Furthermore, abusing can intensify the symptoms of those who already have depression and bipolar disorders. This side effect is the reason why some government agencies have campaigned against the use of psychoactive drugs for purposes not approved by the FDA.
Gabapentin is effective in treating and controlling seizures. There may have been claims that it can do treat other things. However, it is best to use other alternatives until a reliable research proves that it can indeed treat these diseases.